One of the brothers accused of murdering Chicago police officer Ella French earlier this week should never have been on the streets because he violated conditions of his parole in an earlier incident, reports said Friday.
Emonte Morgan, 21, who has been accused of fatally shooting French during a traffic stop a week ago, is linked to a hit-and-run case in April involving a pedestrian struck in a crosswalk who was knocked into a stop sign, ABC7 reported.
The station quoted a physician — an internist at Northwestern Hospital — who recognized Morgan’s face when it was broadcast on local news as being tied to French’s murder. The doctor, who only wanted to be identified by the name Diane, said she remembers wondering why he wasn’t in jail already for the hit-and-run involving a white van he was said to be driving at the time.
The impact with the pedestrian broke the windshield of a Dodge Caravan, but Morgan continued driving until he struck a parked car almost a mile and a half away.
“It’s pretty incredible that they let him go,” said Diane, who witnessed the hit-and-run.
“That might have been able to have been prevented if he wasn’t let back out,” she said regarding French’s murder.
The outlet further reported that at the time of the hit-and-run, Morgan was also out on probation, for robbery, and that “a petition had been filed to find him in violation, which could have sent him to jail.”
However, the outlet noted, a court hearing had not yet been held to address the issue.
So instead, a judge gave authorities time to find and notify Morgan, having set a hearing date on Tuesday, three days after Morgan allegedly shot French and her partner.
The physician recounted that she was riding a bike home after swimming on a warm April 9 evening and saw the van swerving across lanes.
“This guy is gonna kill someone,” Diane remembered thinking at the time. “I’ve never seen anyone drive so recklessly in my life.”
She said she then heard a “terrible sound” and turned to see a man being hurled against a stop sign after being struck by the van, which then sped away. She said she remained with the victim until police and EMS arrived on the scene to treat him.
“He was in bad shape, I mean that was just terrible head trauma,” she told the local outlet. “I was telling him not to move because if there was any kind of spinal cord damage, I didn’t want him to make it worse.”
After hitting a parked car, Morgan allegedly got out of the van and tried running away but was detained by a security guard, according to ABC7.
Police wound up charging Morgan with operating an uninsured vehicle, driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident — but apparently not for striking the pedestrian. Morgan was released from custody the following day because the most serious crime he had been charged with was a misdemeanor. He was released on his own personal recognizance, the report said.
Diane said when she looked for information about the man who had been hit to see if he survived, that’s when she discovered that Morgan had been released within a day. After learning that Morgan was charged with shooting French and her partner, Diane told ABc7, “I was in utter disbelief and felt sadness for her family.”
Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, confirmed that police did not file charges for the felonious hit-and-run, “instead filing misdemeanor charges and citations directly and sending the case to Traffic Court,” ABC7 reported, adding that Chicago police had not yet provided further details.
Morgan appeared for his initial hearing May 7, but the case was continued until July 27, and then again until Aug. 27.
The Cook County Adult Probation Department filed a petition in court on May 18 attesting that Morgan violated the conditions of his parole for robbery after being arrested in the hit-and-run case.
Diane said the hit-and-run case was personal for her because her mother was involved in a hit-and-run recently but no one was charged in that incident.
“People who do things like this, injure people and just are able to drive away without thinking twice, what else are these people up to?” she said.
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